Early Career Research Award (ECRA)

The Early Career Research Award was initiated in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1989. Annually, the College confers the Early Career Research Award to up to three faculty members who are in the early stages of developing their research programs. Candidates for the ECRA must have been employed full-time by the University of Memphis for no more than five academic years and be not more than eight years beyond receiving the terminal degree, prior to the semester of application. Nominations are made and awardees recommended to the Dean of the College by the Graduate Council for Research and Graduate Studies during the spring semester.

In recognition for their research achievement, each recipient of the ECRA receives $250 that can be applied toward research-related expenses, a plaque, and recognition at our August faculty meeting.

This year we are very pleased to announce that three faculty members will receive an Early Career Research Award: Dr. Gary Emmert, Department of Chemistry; Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, Department of History; and Dr. Santosh Kumar, Department of Computer Science.

Gary Emmert, Chemistry

Gary Emmert Dr. Gary Emmert, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Miami University of Ohio in 1999 and joined the faculty at the University of Memphis in 2002 following teaching at Arkansas State University and St. Lawrence University. Gary writes that his research career has focused on "drinking water chemistry, security water monitoring, the detection of improvised explosive devices,…and on-line real time monitoring of an industrial pollutant in Ireland."

His research has been very well supported by external funding from The American Waterworks Association, the EPA, MLGW, among other funders. In her letter of nomination, Abby Parrill notes that Dr. Emmert's work "has provided a crucial link between the Chemistry Department and the Memphis community. Drinking water quality is a fundamental issue relevant both locally, and globally."

Dr. Emmert is highly published, with 13 peer reviewed papers, 2 peer reviewed technical report, and 4 conference proceedings. In his lab he has mentored many graduate and undergraduate students, and he places a high priority on his being Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Chemistry. The relevance of his work to is attested to by Stuart Krasner, Principal Environmental Specialist at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California when he writes "his team has developed rugged, sensitive, selective, accurate, and inexpensive on-line methods for both regulatory and emerging disinfection by-products of concern."

Aram Goudsouzian, History

Aram Goudsouzian Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, Assistant Professor, Department of History, joined the faculty at the University of Memphis in 2004 after completing his Ph.D. in History at Purdue University in 2002 and serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Hamilton College. He writes that his research "primarily concerns the intersection of African American politics and popular culture. My dissertation, which became the book Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon is a cultural biography of the sole black movie star during the civil rights era." Published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2004, this book was reviewed in the New York Times and the Washington Post and was included on many of the "best of lists" that year.

In her letter of nomination, Dr. Margaret Caffrey notes that "Beyond this outstanding book, Dr. Goudsouzian has also written a second book, The Hurricane of 1938 (2004); four book chapters; and four peer-reviewed articles," among other publications. According to Dr. David Welky at the University of Central Arkansas, Aram is working on a "biography of basketball great Bill Russell….Russell was one of the nations' most prominent African Americans throughout the Civil Rights and Black Power eras."

To sum up Dr. Goudsouzian's career to date according to Dr. Caffrey: "He is an energetic, disciplined, and productive researcher who deserves to be recognized for his remarkable accomplishments at this early stage of his career."

Santosh Kumar, Computer Science

Santosh KumarDr. Santosh Kumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering at Ohio State University in 2006 and joined the faculty at the University of Memphis that same year. He has also served as a Software Engineer at Siemens Communications Software.

Dr. Kumar writes that he has "focused on solving fundamental problems in the area of coverage and connectivity in wireless sensor networks" and has emphasized finding "appropriate collaborators from multiple disciplines in order to comprehensively solve large scale problems of societal interest."

In his letter of nomination, Dr. Dipankar Dasgupta notes that Dr. Kumar "has demonstrated exceptional research scholarship. He has consistently published in the most-prestigious and extremely-selective international publication venues…, has earned extensive citations for his published work…, and has led (as the Principal Investigator) large multidisciplinary teams from multiple universities…to win three nationally competitive grants from NIH and NSF, worth more than $2.5 million." Dr. Ten H. Lai, Ohio State University, identifies three outstanding qualities of Dr. Kumar's research: (1) Extremely High Quality of Research; (2) High-Impact Research, and (3) Opening up New Areas of Research.

He summarizes, "Santosh is an outstanding researcher. I believe he will soon join the league of top-notch researchers in the world-wide community of wireless sensor networks."